How a HSBC data center in Hong Kong has figured out a smart way to cut carbon emissions

HSBC has installed solar panels to its data center facility in Hong Kong as part of its strategy to reduce carbon emissions.

The Multinational financial giant has installed 750 solar panels in HSBC’s data center in Tseung Kwan O, southeast from Hong Kong’s Central District. They are designed to generate about 221,000 Kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 54 homes, HSBC said.

The panels, spanning 2,300 square meters on the data center’s rooftop, will also be able to generate revenue for HSBC via a feed-in tariff.

“Businesses can play a key role in tackling climate change, including the decisions we make about our premises. We look forward to replicating this success in Tseung Kwan O across our facilities in Hong Kong,” said Luanne Lim, Chief Operating Officer of HSBC Hong Kong.

This installation is expected to cut 108,000 kg worth of carbon for HSBC, which will help with the company’s plan to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030.

These developments come in the backdrop of increasing pressure to adopt renewable energy, to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change issues. Almost a year back, Goldman Sachs has ruled out direct finance for new or expanding thermal coal mines and coal-fired power plant projects worldwide, as well as direct finance for new Arctic oil exploration and production. While other major U.S. banks have committed to reducing credit exposure to coal mining, their approach restricts only lending, ignoring the large amounts of capital the banks facilitate for the coal industry from the underwriting of issuances of stocks and bonds.

Activists have been vehement in their criticism of global financial institutions, which they say are turning a blind eye and undermining the Paris Agreement when it comes to phasing out coal-based energy production.

According to a research by non profit organisations like Urgewald, BankTrack and 30 others, banks and other financial institutions from January 2017 to September 2019, they have provided lending finance and underwriting services to 258 coal plant developers in the world. According to Heffa Schuecking, director of Urgewald, this has amounted to channeling $745 billion.

Jason Opeña Disterhoft, Climate and Energy Senior Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network (RAN), said that Goldman Sachs’s updated policy shows that U.S. banks can draw red lines on oil and gas, and now other major U.S. banks, especially JPMorgan Chase –– the world’s worst banker of fossil fuels by a wide margin –– must improve on what Goldman has done.

“The writing was already on the wall for coal financing. Goldman Sachs’s new policy puts that writing in flashing neon,” he pointed out.